Arnold Kling  

Progressive Corporatism Explained

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Timothy P. Carney never uses that exact term, but he explains it well in an interview with Nick Gillespie. Well worth a viewing.

Near the end, the question comes up about whether "libertarian populism" is an antidote. I think that the goals of libertarians need to go beyond influencing elections. I think that the more radical ideal of competitive government is what we should aim for. Libertarian populism might be helpful in the short run, but I worry that people could place too much faith in elections and in candidates.


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CATEGORIES: Political Economy



COMMENTS (8 to date)
mulp writes:

Not living in a nation that has made broadband a national priority, streaming video is impractical to me. But on "I think that the more radical ideal of competitive government is what we should aim for" I have these comments:

If we look at several dozen nations' governments competitively on health care, it is clear the US is failing. The winners on cost-performance aka quality and efficiency are every nation with universal health care coverage - better care at less cost.

On economic growth, I'd describe China as having the government policies that liberal critics have used to describe the high growth years of 1933 to 1969: jack boot liberalism dictating economic development and suppressing all opposition.

As an early boomer who made a very good living in "technology" I am very aware that everything in "technology" was the fruit of the jack boot liberals like FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon dictating economic development in the cold war which was going to close the missile gap, the education gap, the science gap, the equality gap that those godless commies had in their leadership in all those areas.

Perhaps libertarians need to advocate competing with Somalia and Haiti and closing the small government gap and reliance on thousands of independent charities to address the many problems faced by society?

Adam writes:

Yes, libertarians need to go much further than just elections. Elections are only the outcome of how people reason--or fail to. We need to change practical philosophies. What makes us human and how do we live out our lives in the most human fashion? It seems like the 1776 thinkers were focused on that--what kind of govt is suitable for reasoning human beings.

Wow, mulp--so FDR was responsible for all things technological for the next 70 years? Are you aware that "boondoggle" was a term invented in the 1930s to describe wasteful Fed spending? Without FDR to Obama, would inventors and entrepreneurs just have just mulled twiddling their thumbs? Not. Indeed, govt quashed invention in the commercial electricity sector in the 30s, just as the sector was taking off. Who knows? We may have had the internet by the 50s if the socialists in Europe and Japan hadn't started WWII. Then there's Fed regulation--how would the telecommunications sector have evolved without the old, 1913 to 1984 ATT monopoly?

Is govt funding on track today? Do we really need an expanded exercise room in the "international" space station? How about all that research on switch grass for ethanol production?

Chris Koresko writes:

mulp, I cringe when I hear people outside the US criticizing our health-care system and attributing its deficiencies to a lack of socialism. In my view this critique misses the point.

That the US spends more per capita and as a fraction of GDP than most other developed nations is unarguable, but the claim that the resulting product is inferior to what's available in socialized-medicine countries is dubious. I've seen that claim supported by badly interpreted statistics (e.g,. attribution of differences in life expectancy entirely to the quality and availability of medicine). In fact, our President has made that argument more than once. Others who have studied the question more carefully note that the survival time for a wide range of deadly disease, which is a more direct measure of the effectiveness of the health care system, is higher here than just about anywhere else.

American costs are inflated relative to the rest of the world because we pay for about half of global development of medical technology (socialized medical systems tend to buy these products at close to the marginal cost of production, which especially for drugs tends to be much lower than the total amortized cost). Some people would argue that Americans are being exploited by the rest of the world. Certainly an attempt to use the power of the Federal government to lower our drug spending to the level of, say, Britain, would adversely impact the long-term costs for the world as a whole.

As an aside, it is not true that the widespread availability of broadband Internet connectivity here is due to its being a national priority. It didn't become one until the current administration, which so far has produced little or nothing for its efforts.

I think libertarians need to keep hammering on points like this. It's too easy for people to fall unthinkingly into the notion that nothing important gets done without a major push from government. That kind of reflex contributes to the election of activist politicians.

According to critics of US healthcare, healthcare is an interesting area, where you get worse results when you spend more, compared to European systems. It doesn't improve when you spend more, as in the US, and it doesn't decline when you spend less, as in Canada and Europe.

But, what is the policy that Canada and Europe are using to get these great results? Couldn't the US providers use that policy to lower healthcare costs? If the policy doesn't apply to the US, then why would nationalizing US healthcare save anything? Is it the magic hand of the free market, ruining everything as usual? (smile).

I suggest that healthcare statistics are politicized and distorted. The US is actually doing well, and we are getting what we pay for. The obviously high prices are caused by a hidden tax on insured healthcare. Also add the direct and indirect costs of a legal lottery suing doctors for malpractice, and the defensive medicine that results.

US laws cause hospitals to shift the costs of treating the poor and those on government plans, onto the prices charged to the insured. Medicare and Medicaid pay only 60% of the market rate for the care delivered to their members. Then, lawmakers blame the hospitals for the resulting higher prices on the insured, and suggest that improvement will come if all healthcare is managed by the government.

The World Health Organization says that the US is a poor provider of health care, and that Cuban healthcare is quite close in quality to US healthcare, according to infant mortality statistics. Believe that, and I have a bridge to sell you.

Get more of the picture at USA Healthcare is First - Infant Mortality is Low

Bill Drissel writes:

In all of the replies there is the assumption that American medical costs are higher and our results worse.

I've seen articles showing our life expectancy adjusted for murder and accidental death are the best in the world. We measure infant mortality differently from the rest of the world. When our experience is adjusted for measurement methods, our infant mortality is approximately the same as Switzerland.

When I ask people about details of the costs, I can't get an answer. Our doctors have two large costs I ask about: retirement costs and malpractice insurance. I've never met anyone who can tell me if the accounting they rely on to push socialized medicine attributes those costs to national health service accounts. Also hospital construction costs.

So I encourage those who urge that our costs are higher and our experience worse to find out if we are comparing the same things.

Regards,
Bill Drissel
Grand Prairie, TX

Nick writes:

Andrew_M_Garland,

the WHO statistics put a heavy weight on equitability. obviously the US system is not as equitable as cuba's one of the reasons we rank so low.

Chris Koresko writes:

mulp, I cringe when I hear people outside the US criticizing our health-care system and attributing its deficiencies to a lack of socialism. In my view this critique misses the point.

That the US spends more per capita and as a fraction of GDP than most other developed nations is unarguable, but the claim that the resulting product is inferior to what's available in socialized-medicine countries is dubious. I've seen that claim supported by badly interpreted statistics (e.g,. attribution of differences in life expectancy entirely to the quality and availability of medicine). In fact, our President has made that argument more than once. Others who have studied the question more carefully note that the survival time for a wide range of deadly disease, which is a more direct measure of the effectiveness of the health care system, is higher here than just about anywhere else.

American costs are inflated relative to the rest of the world because we pay for about half of global development of medical technology (socialized medical systems tend to buy these products at close to the marginal cost of production, which especially for drugs tends to be much lower than the total amortized cost). Some people would argue that Americans are being exploited by the rest of the world. Certainly an attempt to use the power of the Federal government to lower our drug spending to the level of, say, Britain, would adversely impact the long-term costs for the world as a whole.

As an aside, it is not true that the widespread availability of broadband Internet connectivity here is due to its being a national priority. It didn't become one until the current administration, which so far has produced little or nothing for its efforts.

I think libertarians need to keep hammering on points like this. It's too easy for people to fall unthinkingly into the notion that nothing important gets done without a major push from government. That kind of reflex contributes to the election of activist politicians.

Donn Klimes writes:

A solid tester will have a systematic approach to testing that they can apply to any given scenario without hesitation. The one I got many another moons ago was to document the trials for getting out a can from a lemonade vending machine. I did the whole requirements, examined the testing environment, checked the machine was fit for testing and started the "tests". Put in too little money, have money repaid, put in correct money, have money repaid etc. Then when I did eventually push vend, the can got stuck instead of falling to the tray. So I utilised the "workaround" of swaying the machine with my shoulder. My report concluded that the machine was sporadically unfit for use unless a physio could also be installed in the building to deal with the manifold painful shoulders that would result from its implementation.

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